The housing industry is undergoing major networking technology development. A new smart housing project is going under way headed by companies such as Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Panasonic, Proctor & Gamble, and Whirlpool. They collectively trialed an experiment called “Laundry Time” which integrated a washing machine, TV, PC, and cell phone. The experiment was mean to network these devices to notify you when your load of laundry or clothes were dried via sending alerts to TV screens, instant messaging, or cell phones.
A smart house is a fully networked structure with network cables placed within the walls of the home to be controlled from a central computer. This makes it ideal for homeowners who travel frequently or others who simply want the increased control and security. A smart house would incorporate many useful functions such as “Laundry Time” but also security protection systems, temperature, and many other innovative concepts involving current technologies as well as more futuristic applications.
As of now, Bill Gates is the only current owner of a few smart houses. But at some point in the future we could all be living in these fully networked houses. These systems and applications could change our lives for the better by keeping us endlessly connected with our assets and in control. But hold on, the Jetsons will not be neighbours as of yet. There are still many measures still being researched to prevent network hacking as well as other research and development.
This all sounds very exciting, however, do we really want a House of the future controlling and planning every move we make. I remember watching an episode of the Simpsons where a Smart House wanted to get rid of Homer because “it” had fallen for Marge. I know this sounds a bit far fetched but hey, so was going to the moon and living on mars.
The House of the future’s social and environmental responsibility
Not only does the house of the future have to be overflowing with new gadgets and technology, it also has other major guidelines to follow. Being energy efficient, water wise, and environmentally friendly should all be incorporated into the smart housing design. How do we know how much water we will be able to use or whether there will still be a supply of electricity to our house.
Some features of an ideal House of the future
- Solar powered and self sufficient.
- Rain water tanks supply water to the house.
- Recycling water system in place.
- Light sensors that turn lights off when not in use.
- Smart power switches that stop appliances from draining power.
- Energy efficient appliances.
- Built with environmentally and people friendly materials.
- wastewater treatment systems.
- Natural air flow throughout the house for ventilation.
- Insulation to preserve energy gathered.
- ‘Everyone knows how frustrating it is when your computer plays up, let alone an entire house.’